Extinction Rebellion protesters cost taxpayers £15 million in policing costs in a year with disruptive stunts including stripping off naked at the House of Commons.
The Home Office handed the Metropolitan Police millions of pounds of extra funding in the 2019/20 financial year to fund the soaring costs of dealing with the climate extremists.
On March 9 last year around 400 protesters held a ‘Blood of Our Children’ demonstration outside Downing Street. Members poured buckets of fake blood on the road to represent the threatened lives of children.
The next month around 12 protesters were arrested after undressing and gluing themselves to the glass in the House of Commons viewing gallery during a debate.
It comes after Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House told the London Assembly Police and Crime Committee that Extinction Rebellion (XR) activists needed to ‘stop wasting police time’ when being arrested.
A boat is placed in the centre of the traffic junction as Environmental campaigners block Oxford Circus during a coordinated protest by the Extinction Rebellion group on April 15, 2019
The senior officer went on to explain that floppy tactics used by the climate change group were ‘a flipping nuisance’ and ‘a complete pain in the neck’.
The tactic used by some activists sees them go limp when they are being arrested and will often mean four or five people are required to carry them away.
The senior officer’s comments come just weeks after the group took to the streets of central London after declaring a ten-day protest.
Sir Steve told the committee: ‘We have asked them to stop being floppy. It might seem like a silly thing to say, but when we arrest them and pick them up they go all floppy, which is why you see four or five officers carrying them away.
A protester is removed by police at the entrance to Downing Street, London, during an Extinction Rebellion (XR) climate change protest on Friday October 18, 2019
Police officers remove an Extinction Rebellion protester from Victoria Street, London, on Thursday September 3
How DID climate anarchists cost the taxpayer £15 million in a year?
Around 12 protesters were arrested after undressing and gluing themselves to the glass in the House of Commons viewing gallery during a debate on Brexit.
Thousands gathered in Oxford Circus, Marble Arch, Waterloo Bridge and the area around Parliament Square.
Five activists, including XR co-founder Simon Bramwell, were arrested for criminal damage when they targeted Shell’s headquarters, near Waterloo.
On the second day of actions on Waterloo Bridge police started arresting people at 12.40 pm, but stopped a few hours later when the force ran out of holding cells.
By the end of the day an estimated 500,000 people had been affected by the disruptions and 290 activists had been arrested in London.
Two activists climbed onto the roof of a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf station whilst another glued himself to the side, spreading disruption to railway services.
A large force of police marched on the camp at Parliament Square, arresting people and partially removing roadblocks before it was retaken later the same night by protesters.
Some 428 people had been arrested at this point.
A dozen teenagers, some aged 13 and 14, walked to the Healthrow access road holding a banner which read ‘Are we the last generation?’ They were surrounded by police.
By late that evening 682 people had so far been arrested in London during the course of the demonstrations.
London Stock Exchange is blockaded by protestors who glued themselved to the entrance while wearing LED signs.
Four protesters climbed on to a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf.
Activists gathered at Hyde Park to mark an end to the 11-day protest.
JULY 13 – 14
A weekend of protest in East London included a mass bike ride, traffic blockades and talks at London Fields.
London Fashion Week was targetted with Victoria Beckham’s show interupted by a swarm of demonstrators.
200 people gathered for a ‘funeral march’ from a H&M in Trafalgar Square to a fashion week venue in The Strand.
Tried to blockade the Port of Dover by marching on the A20.
Fire engine was used to spray fake blood around HM Treasury in central London.
Opening ceremony held at Marble Arch was attended by a thousand protesters.
Thousands of people blocked central London with various demonstrations.
Half a dozen activists dressed in yellow-and-black bee outfits held an action during the Liberal Democrats election campaign in Streatham, south London.
Activists blockaded a central London road to demand the next government tackles air pollution in London.
Extinction Rebellion members of the University of Cambridge assembled to dig up a patch of lawn outside of Trinity College.
‘It’s a complete waste of officers’ time, and a complete pain in the neck. If they could just behave like sensible adults – you’ve made your point, you wanted to be arrested, you’ve been arrested, get up and walk away with one officer and stop wasting police time.
‘This is a real issue, and they will not do it, and it is a flipping nuisance.’
The police officer added: ‘The problem with them going floppy and four officers carrying them away is that it looks to the general public like the police are overreacting here.
‘We’re not making them go floppy – they’re just being a nuisance.’
Earlier this month, Extinction Rebellion activists held ten days of protest in central London, with the latest figures from the Met showing that 680 people had been arrested.
These were for alleged offences including obstructing the highway, criminal damage and breaching the legal conditions set on the demonstration.
This month activists were also blasted by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson for ‘attacking free speech’ after they chained themselves to the gates of Newsprinters in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.
Protestors also blocked access to the presses in Knowsley, Liverpool, on the same evening.
A total of 20 activists have each been fined £10,000 for their involvement in the protest, the Met Police said.
Following the scenes, the Prime Minister said: ‘A free press is vital in holding the government and other powerful institutions to account on issues critical for the future of our country, including the fight against climate change.
‘It is completely unacceptable to seek to limit the public’s access to news in this way.’
In a speech delivered to the Police Superintendents Association after the protest, Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was committed to helping police deal with ‘so-called eco-crusaders turned criminals.’
She said: ‘Attempting to thwart the media’s right to publish without fear nor favour.
‘And a shameful attack on our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority. I refuse point-blank to allow that kind of anarchy on our streets.’
She blasted those who took part in the demonstration for being a ‘selfish minority’.
‘The very criminals who disrupt our free society must be stopped,’ she added. ‘Together we must all stand firm against the guerrilla tactics of Extinction Rebellion.
‘That means adapting to the threat they pose and ensuring justice is served. Now in policing, you have a whole range of powers at your disposal, and of course they should be used.’
Labour leader Keir Starmer also hit out at XR’s ‘counterproductive’ protests to stop the printing press.
He warned the environmental group’s newspaper blockade had cost it public sympathy.
The stunt happened on September 4, and left some newsagents’ shelves empty the following morning. It sparked outrage across parties.
During a listener phone-in with LBC radio, Sir Keir admitted he had not admonished a few of his own backbench MPs who spoke out in support of the action.
They included former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who told Sky News XR was using ‘legal tactics’ in the same vein as Suffragette protests.
Fellow MP Dawn Butler called the blockade ‘excellent work’ in a tweet that was later deleted.
Asked about their comments, Sir Keir said: ‘I haven’t directly spoken to either of them about it – I disagree with them.
‘Obviously people will have different opinions but my strong opinion is this was counterproductive, it was wrong and we shouldn’t miss the bigger picture here which is that climate change is a very important issue and we do need to shine a light on that but this is the wrong way to do it.’
He added that XR’s tactics were likely to have put ‘people off’ supporting their efforts to raise awareness about climate change and the impact of increasing temperatures.
‘The tactics and the action of Extinction Rebellion, particularly blockading newspapers, was just wrong in my view and counterproductive,’ the former director of public prosecutions said.
‘A free press is a cornerstone of our democracy and people should be able to read the newspaper that they want to read.
‘I actually think it was counterproductive, I think it put more people off than brought people on.
Extinction Rebellion protestors should ‘stop wasting police time’ when being arrested, a senior officer has said. Pictured: An activist uses floppy tactics as they are carried away by officers
Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Sir Steve House (pictured) explained that floppy tactics used by the climate change group were a ‘complete pain in the neck’
‘The test of this is actually is it persuading people that this cause is the right cause and make them more likely to take action themselves in the way they go about their everyday lives and I actually think this action was counterproductive.
Priti Patel (pictured) said she was committed to helping police deal with XR
‘I suspect there are more people now who are less sympathetic than there were before.’
Sir Keir said it was ‘rubbish’ that he had been slow to condemn the actions of the protest movement.
Labour’s media spokeswoman Jo Stevens put out the party’s official statement condemning the actions following the blockade but Tory MPs were critical that the comments were not issued under Sir Keir’s name.
‘The Labour Party put out a line, that’s what we do, but I in fact put out a line myself anyway,’ he told LBC.
Since Priti Patel became Home Secretary last year, 4,300 police officers have been recruited nationally.
The Home Office aims to recruit 20,000 more by 2023.
Extinction Rebellion describes itself as ‘a politically non-partisan international movement that uses non-violent direct action to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.’
An XR stunt happened at printing works in Hertfordshire on September 4, and left some newsagents’ shelves empty the following morning
A note on its website revealed the group try to communicate with police ‘except for the case where a small group is trying to do a specific action that needs the element of surprise’.
They said: ‘We have made some decisions about security and our interactions with the police.
‘We have made a strategic decision to communicate with the police about what we are doing when we believe that is more likely to enable things to go well (which we can’t always be sure of).
In an LBC phone-in, Labour leader Keir Starmer warned that the environmental group’s blockade had cost it public sympathy
‘Except for the case where a small group is trying to do a specific action that needs the element of surprise, we generally don’t try to be secure in our communications about plans.
‘We expect that we have been infiltrated by those without our best interests at heart and suggest people bear this in mind.’
WHAT IS EXTINCTION REBELLION AND WHAT DO THEY WANT?
‘Extinction Rebellion is an international movement that uses non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and the risk of social collapse,’ according to its website’s ‘about’ page.
The environmentalist protest group held its first demonstration in Parliament Square on October 31, 2018.
The worldwide group want to change the structure of power to take authority away from central governments.
Its website reads: ‘We understand that we must self-organise to meet our own needs, which in the context of Extinction Rebellion means that we are working to equalise power by disrupting the usual pillars of power that govern our lives.’
The environmentalist protest group held its first demonstration in Parliament Square on October 31, 2018
Since 2018 members of the group have gathered at London Fashion Week, the House of Commons and various other locations around central London.
On the morning of Wednesday, April 17, 2019, two activists climbed onto the roof of a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf station whilst another glued himself to the side, spreading disruption to railway services.
The following day the three activists were charged with obstructing trains. After pleading not guilty they were sent to jail for four weeks, with no bail, whilst awaiting their next hearing.
On February 17 2020, Extinction Rebellion members of the University of Cambridge dug up a patch of lawn outside Trinity College, as a protest against its investment in oil and gas companies. The mud dug up was later taken to a local branch of Halifax.